PASADENA, Calif. (AP) – Unsatisfied with the direction of the offense heading into a big road game, Texas shook up its quarterback situation.
Case McCoy is expected to get the first snaps when the 23rd-ranked Longhorns visit UCLA on Saturday and try to end a three-game losing streak in the series.
Texas (2-0) escaped with a 17-16 win over BYU last Saturday, and the decision was made this week to change quarterbacks after another uninspiring effort by Garrett Gilbert, who went 2 of 8 for eight yards while throwing two interceptions.
McCoy went 7 of 8 for 57 yards and led the winning drive in the fourth quarter, while David Ash completed 2 of 3 passes for 35 yards and rushed for 36.
McCoy is the brother of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who won an NCAA-record 45 games between 2006-09. Casey McCoy showed flashes of those heroics last Saturday, connecting twice with Jaxon Shipley for big gains before Cody Johnson scored on a 4-yard run to put Texas ahead.
“When Case came in, he played a real leadership role for us,” Shipley said. “He immediately came into the huddle and was pumping us up and telling us to trust him, and that he was going to lead us down and deliver a victory. I think there was just a lot of energy he brought in.”
Coach Mack Brown said that for now, McCoy and Ash will share time under center, although McCoy figures to get the majority of the snaps.
“The one thing we’ve committed to ourselves and our team is that if something’s not working, change it,” Brown said. “It’s a product of are you moving the ball? Are you scoring points? As a staff, we said let’s try something else. The combination of David and Case worked.”
The Longhorns’ other big decision was listing freshman Malcolm Brown as the starting tailback ahead of senior Fozzy Whittaker. Brown leads Texas with 154 rushing yards on 30 carries.
The changes come as the Longhorns prepare for a tough road test.
They were 3-0 and ranked seventh last year before losing 34-12 to UCLA at home Sept. 25. That game started a season-ending 2-7 slide for Texas.
“We’re building upon something fresh and something new,” senior linebacker Keenan Robinson said. “I’m just worried about winning one game at a time, taking one game at a time … which happens to be UCLA, no matter what happened last year.”
UCLA (1-1) bounced back from a 38-34 loss at Houston on Sept. 3 with a 27-17 win over San Jose State last Saturday.
Derrick Coleman rushed for 135 yards – all in the second half – and capped a 79-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown run with 3:35 remaining.
“We had a chance to blink and we didn’t,” coach Rick Neuheisel said. “We found a way to play well when we had to. We’re going to take away something from that.”
Although Neuheisel said he wasn’t concerned about the poor start of his team, which went 4-8 last year, he recognizes the importance a victory over Texas could have on the program and his job security.
“It’s a marquee program,” Neuheisel said. “And because of the perception of our program, to come out and play a great game against a marquee program and to find a way to win it will put at ease those folks who are concerned about where we are.”
UCLA hopes to be helped by the returns of linebacker Glenn Love and quarterback Kevin Prince from injuries, along with center Kai Maiava’s return from a one-game team suspension.
Prince left against Houston in the second quarter after sustaining a minor concussion and sprained right shoulder. Neuheisel has not said whether Prince or Richard Brehaut, who completed 12 of 23 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown last weekend, will start.
Texas lost 49-31 on Sept. 12, 1998, the last time it played UCLA at the Rose Bowl.
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